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Roadworks All The Way

No sooner had the Peterborough railway station stop been reopened, more disruption to the X1 service was in evidence. This time evening services had to be diverted because of the closure of the A12 between Gorleston Links Road and Hopton roundabout for resurfacing work taking place over four nights from 19.30 - 06.00 commencing 25th June. Initially the plan was to use a shuttle nus between Yarmouth, JPH and Lowestoft, but from what I can gather, in the end the X1s were able to get through to Lowestoft, but with a shuttle bus being provided for the James Paget Hospital.
Further delays are forecast on 4th & 5th July while the Olympic torch passes through the region, but one bit of good news involves the long term diversion at Wisbech. The normal direct route via Nene Quay should reopen on Monday 2nd July. Plans to permanently divert the X1 via the A1101 to serve Morrisons don't appear to have come to anything and all this would achieve would be that the service would serve a stop at Morrisons instead of Tesco. The former is already served by NG, while Cromwell Road  / Weasenham Lane is only served by the X1. The diversionary route also takes slightly longer.
Meanwhile repairs to the roof at Norwich bus station are planned for this Sunday (1st July) weather permitting. X1 services will use stops in St. Stephens Street for the day.
Thanks to Des and Kieran for help in compiling the above.


Monday 18th June - Sunday 24th June 2012 ~ Peterborough Rail station reconnected

Yes Peterborough railway station resumed its status as the western starting and terminating point for the X1 service today (Monday) although some work is still ongoing outside the station. The day itself passed without incident it would seem. The three sidelined buses were 37563 still awaiting tests, 37565 with an adblue fault and 37577 undergoing maintenance. Over at Lowestoft Malcolm Hicks viewed 34111on the 10.08 X2 to Norwich after the incoming vehicle from Norwich failed to appear, 32651 was on the 10.38 and has a very noisy fan, so this complaint is not restricted to certain Geminis.
Tuesday saw the same three buses off the road with 37563 now awaiting a new ECU. 37566 with Des on 11.02 King's Lynn to Lowestoft was 7 late from Lynn after tree cutting caused delays on the A47 Pullover Road, he then regained the lost time and caught up and overtook the bus in front at Dereham (37159 on K5). At Norwich K5 transferred its passengers to Y6 and 37159 went light direct to Lowestoft to form the 13.55 back to Peterborough. Malcolm saw 30889 on Lowestoft town service 101 and 37158 was 8 late arriving on K18.
So to Wednesday and this really has been an uneventful week X1 wise, 37565 returned to traffic on K19 and 37160 had a day off for maintenance instead. 30889 was still on the 101 this morning but 32654 had replaced it this afternoon. 37568 on K1 was seen departing Norwich eastbound at 10.20 on time but full and with about 35 passengers left behind. Thursday marked the return to service of 37563 on K2 and 37577 was also back on K1. Y13 swapped vehicles at some stage, beginning the day with 37576 and ending it with 37574. 30887 was the 101. The new arrangement at Peterborough rail station is reported as being very tight and the kerb seems to be suffering !
The 21.35 King's Lynn to Lowestoft (37579) passes 37571 arriving as the 18.48 Lowestoft - Peterborough on the longest day of the year. [Southgates Webcam]
Friday 22nd saw an early morning emergency move. 37573 expired at Acle on Y13 with a suspected ECU fault and Richard T dashed over with 37157 as replacement so that the service could continue. 37571 then took Y13 forward from Lynn. 37563 was in the wars again losing its T side advert board while working L8 tonight - high winds are thought to be the reason. 37579 worked L8 forward to Lowestoft at 21.35. Marcus reports seeing old X1 regular Scania 65577 working westbound this morning at Thorney - it was en route from Norwich to Northampton.
37578 arrives in Wisbech with K4 11.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough on Saturday.
Incredibly Saturday saw 37563 in trouble again on K19 - this time it sustained some slight side damage and was replaced by 37158. 37568 was taken off K4 for work on its MOT to commence  and it was replaced by 37578. 37156 arrived in Lowestoft 13 late on K1 and was 4 late departing as the 11.55 to Peterborough. The rarest sight on Sunday was that of 37159 on the 11.20 Lowestoft - Norwich X2 - a long time since we have had a report of a Gemini on this service. Malcolm also saw another 'off route' Gemini, 36180 which was sharing airshow park and ride duties with 32209 and 32655.


X1 Bus Diagrams & Codes

Several people have asked me lately again about the code numbers I use to identify the 19 different bus turns used on the X1. Basically they are very similar to the official codes which are numbered XL01 - XL19, but the advantage of mine is that the prefix letter denotes the depot where a diagram has begun the day, K for King's Lynn, L for Lowestoft and Y for Great Yarmouth.
XL01 - XL06 are my K14 - K19 and XL07 - XL19 are K1 - Y13 in my system. There are also drivers diagrams (numbered 7101 upwards) which differ from the bus turns, as these allow for breaks and changeovers. Generally speaking the King's Lynn to Peterborough section is worked by King's Lynn drivers except Y9, K16 and K18 which are operated by Yarmouth and a solitary turn for a Lowestoft driver to Peterborough on K14. The weekday service uses approximately 37 drivers from the three depots excluding the short turns at the eastern end.
Here is a rather psychadelic version of the long distance weekday diagrams with the short turns omitted.

The weekday turns have remained largely unchanged since 2009, although L8 and L10 now start at Lowestoft instead of running light to the James Paget Hospital. The colours indicate which depot a vehicle is garaged at.
The longest drivers diagram at just under 12 hours including breaks does K18 from Lynn to Lowestoft, K1 Lowestoft - Lynn, K3 Lynn - Peterborough and then back to Lynn. 

The Saturday turns are a little different and L12 is just an out and back from Lowestoft and the bus then does 17.25 Lowestoft - Yarmouth X1 short. There are other subtle differences with K1 starting at Wisbech and at the end of the day diagrams change to account for L12 not returning to Lynn. 

So to complete the diagrams here are Sundays - much simpler of course and only requiring ten buses instead of nineteen. All turns west of Lynn are operated by their drivers except K2 14.50 departure which is part of a very long turn for a Lowestoft driver. Yarmouth have no turns on the western section on Sundays. Twenty drivers are required to work the Sunday service which also applies on Bank Holiday excepting Dec25/26 and Jan 1.

Sorry that you need a magnifier for that one !


Wednesday 13th June - Sunday 17th June 2012 ~ New Bus Talk

34186 seen on an X1 short in Acle on 11th June.  Photo : Joe Watson /NBP
As the Olympics get nearer, more and more people are emailing or asking me about new buses for the X1. The rumour was that new vehicles would come after being used for the Games, but I am none the wiser up to now. How much longer the Geminis can keep going is debatable, but it seems certain that internal refurbishment will be required before the engines give up, as the Volvo units seem to go on forever.
The last few days has seen a continuation of recent times, with the 22 Geminis keeping the service going.
On Wednesday, 37563 was in trouble - it had been examined because it seemed to be losing power and after no obvious faults were found it was turned out on K4. This afternoon it expired at Easton. It managed to limp to the Park & Ride site at Costessey and was then sent to the Volvo workshops in Norwich for attention. From what I can gather, K4 restarted at Swaffham with 37573 at 16.07 and this was 18 late through Walpole. 37567 was the other Gemini rested today with 37566 having its MOT tomorrow.  An unusual sight at Lowestoft was X2 vehicle 32656 being utilised on the 101 town service.
Thursday saw 37563 back at Lynn, it is to be given a long road test before it returns to service. A data link fault is thought to be the cause of its ailments (whatever that is !).
Both 37158 and now 37157 are suffering from noisy fans again, 157 was used on L11 today and was 9 late passing Bruce going to Peterborough and 15 late coming back. Timekeeping was pretty good otherwise. Items of interest viewed on the Southgates webcam included L10 leaving Vancouver Avenue after a vehicle change at 13.13 on the 13.02 Lynn - Lowestoft. 37568 had been replaced by 37574, while at 13.54 two X1s were seen departing simultaneously with 37156 on L11 13.32 Lynn - Lowestoft (about 17 late) heading east and 37570 on K17 just 4 late going to Peterborough. In Lowestoft it was the turn of 32655 to deputise on the 101 town service and Malcolm thinks a shortage of Darts is the reason.
Friday had some hit and miss timekeeping. 37160 was seen leaving the Southgate driver change at 13.10 to Lowestoft on Y9 (due 12.37, so some 33 minutes late). L10 was not far behind it and set out at 13.22 - about 15 late with 37564. 37577 on K15 was taken out of service at Lynn at 12.45 to be replaced by 37579. 577 needed servicing and attention to its upper deck windscreen. One service definitely not affected by today's delays was K1 which was bang on time into King's Lynn for the 15.15 to Peterborough and similarly punctual departing back to Lowestoft at 18.02 with 37570.
The current situation at Peterborough rail station - even the large puddle seems to have been eradicated by resurfacing. Photo P Risebrow
On Saturday, an accident on the A47 at East Winch at lunchtime caused disruption to what otherwise was a fairly good day for timekeeping. 37574 on K14 was the first eastbound service delayed. It was seen returninf grom Peterborough mid afternoon running over 30 late with K15 a couple of minutes behind it. Des Speed says "I was on 37571 (L9) and this bus was on time out of Yarmouth at 15.00 to Lowestoft and then departing westbound at 15.55. however, the previous two buses were running together approx 45 & 15 late (this would have been 37573 on Y7 and 37569 on L8). Similarly, the buses following me were out of course with  Y10 being 10 late and L11 35 late. Two vehicles collided at East Winch just after 11.30 and both lanes were closed for a while causing lengthy tailbacks. Meanwhile at Norwich bus station, a water leak caused the closure of the information centre, cafe and toilets while the cause is investigated". Malcolm Hicks reports 30887 on service 101 in Lowestoft today.
Sunday saw nothing unusual X1 wise but it was the EATM open day at Carlton Colville where it was nice to catch up with some familiar faces.
37573 at Lowestoft today after working K6 and before taking Service 1 to Martham. Photo : K Smith
One of the exhibits at the EATM today with a rather unusual destination ! Photo : K Smith


Sunday June 3rd - Tuesday June 12th 2012 ~ The Holiday Season

Three days of Sunday timetable commenced on 3rd with the next two days being the Jubilee Bank Holiday. I was away from 8th - 12th so am trying to make some sense out of your reports and sightings for which many thanks.
During the Sunday service days there were a couple of incidents. Firstly on Sunday 3rd, 37568 was taken off its duty because of a fault with its security cameras and 37157 took over commencing with the 17.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough. Later in the evening, K1 had 37570 swapped for 37573, the latter working the 19.48 ex Lowestoft back to Lynn.
Monday 4th saw a very unusual incident - a breakdown. Instances of X1 buses becoming marooned are extremely rare, but the 12.19 from Peterborough had this misfortune with 37576 coming to a halt at Walton Highway with a failed water pump. The powers that be were on the spot very promptly and the service was able to continue with 37578 just 28 minutes late. The problems with 37576 continued as no sooner had the pump been replaced then its starter motor gave up, eventually the bus was able to return to Lynn garage under its own steam after nearly six hours had elapsed. Holiday traffic delayed a few services today such as 37577 on the 13.50 King's Lynn - Peterborough which was 23 late passing Bruce at Walpole Highway.
The failure of 37576 was soon forgotten on Tuesday when it was out all day without any problems. Wednesday 6th saw a return to normal weekday service with one swap reported, 37577 being changed for 37563 on K14. Many services ran late, presumably because of the heavier than normal traffic. 37157 on L11 was just about the worst affected being 28 late returning through Walpole just after half past one.
Kieran Smith says "Thought I'd send you some more pix for the blog - here is 37563 in Norwich with Y13 08.15 Lowestoft - Peterborough 7/6/12". Nice picture Kieran and isn't that Des Speed in the driving seat ?

X1 driver John Frangou is also used to appearing in the X1 blog ! Here he is at the helm of 37570 on K19 07.21 Wisbech - Lowestoft. Photo : Kieran Smith
Reminding us of old times, here is 20102 on an X1 short to Great Yarmouth [K.Smith]

 On Thursday 7th K3 had 37571 replaced by 37157 and it is believed that K18 began with 37575 and ended up with 37160, all to facilitate maintenance commitments.
Friday saw 37566 stopped for a start on its MOT prep and 37570 came off K14 for 37575. K16 with 37157 was seen heading down the Wisbech bypass 'not in service' at 16.09, so running approx 43 minutes late. Palatine 34155 worked the 14.38 X2 on Saturday and regular appearances by the type continue.
Y10 11.44 Peterborough - Lowestoft at Norwich this Saturday afternoon with B7 Gemini 37158, one of several X1 buses currently advertising courses at the College of West Anglia. Photo : Kieran Smith

Observations for Saturday & Sunday are not 100% complete, but Monday seems to have passed without any changes, 37563/66/70 being the three buses rested. Both 30886/9 were seen on the X2 by Malcolm Hicks. Roadworks in Wisbech - yes more ! - saw the Horsefair roundabout reduced to a single line for road painting, resulting in long queues today.
Tuesday 12th saw 37563 have another day off due to 'loss of power' and 37571 started the day on K5, but then went into Vancouver Avenue for a windscreen replacement with 37157 working the 10.32 to Lowestoft instead. Later on, 37571 was back on the road replacing 37572 on K15. There were delays on both X routes into Lowestoft today, Malcolm saw 32656 on the 10.08 Norwich bound X2 departing 11 late and this afternoon 30889 on the 15.03 service was 14 late leaving with 37564 on L8 also 14 late arriving.


Wednesday May 30th - Saturday June 2nd 2012 ~ A Bank Holiday Beckons

The usual deterioration in timekeeping occurred as the Bank Holiday getaway got nearer, Wednesday 30th was still reasonable though and apart from K16 being 15 late into King's Lynn from the coast with 37157, everything else seemed fairly punctual. At 20.00 Churchill Road in Wisbech was closed to southbound traffic, so L10 with 37566 departed at 20.22 via Freedom Bridge and Wisbech St. Mary. Further to Malcolm's sighting of 20109, Ryan says he is being trained on the coach in order that he can attend any breakdowns - he is employed at Yarmouth garage and has been training between Lowestoft and Norwich. Palatine 34156 was out on the X2 being seen by Malcolm Hicks on the 15.03 departure to Norwich. Roadworks on St. Stephens roundabout in Norwich with reduced access to one lane as well as emergency roadworks on Chapelfield Road caused some delays this morning. Work to repair a water main was due to be carried out here overnight.

On Thursday (31st) Peter reported Y6 08.15 King's Lynn - Peterborough running 15 late from Wisbech with 37564. He had to dash over to the station for his train as the forecourt here is still in disarray and the reopening to X1 services has now been delayed until June 7th. In the afternoon K2 was delayed and was seen by Bruce with 37573 running along the eastern section of the Wisbech bypass instead of through Walsoken. At this point it was nearly 30 late, but some smart working saw it later leave the Southgates for Lowestoft at 18.45, only about 5 late. Des encountered delays today. In charge of 37159 on the 14.20 Southgates to Peterborough (K18), departure was at 14.34 and queuing in and out of Wisbech saw a 28 minute late arrival into Peterborough. The return trip departed Peterborough Queensgate at 16.00 instead of 15.44 and further delays around Wisbech saw a Southgates handover on the inward at 17.21 (about 32 late). His  journey back east was on K1 18.02 to Yarmouth which was 5 late departing and on time by Dereham.
Friday 1st June saw the exodus to the coast and the consequent detrimental effect on timekeeping as we expected. It was after lunch when this hit hard. Bruce saw K18 14.15 ex King's Lynn to Peterborough slip by with 37157 19 late and going east, 37565 on K14 13.44 from Peterborough was 26 late through Walpole. K19 with 37570 was only 5 late however, but late afternoon saw more delays. Y6 17.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough was seen 25 late at Terrington St. John and I met K5 18.44 from Peterborough with 37579 at Tilney flyover running exactly 30 late which was all the more unusual as the driver Malcolm Wallace is normally renowned for smart timekeeping. Y6 was not far behind having made up ground and now only 7 late. All this was because of delays on the A47 and I think these services ran via Wisbech St. Mary. K4 16.45 King's Lynn to Peterborough and 18.14 return failed to run - presumably due to a driver shortage - and 37568 spent a couple of hours or so in Vancouver Avenue instead before resuming the turn at 19.35 to Lowestoft.
37158 was out of action with a CCTV problem and 37572 has not worked since Monday and is having a major service and wheels changed - it is of course, the highest mileage of our B9s.
Saturday 2nd June marked the start of the Jubilee holiday and was the last day of a full X1 service until Wednesday. Once again acute congestion on the A47 resulted in some afternoon services running via Wisbech St. Mary and I met K16 13.15 King's Lynn to Peterborough coming into Wisbech 24 late with the luckless 37579. Y13 had 37568 removed in favour of 37574 at some point today. This swap may have contributed to delays as at 16.35 37571 on K14 was seen at the Newmarket Road roundabout with the ring road in Norwich with 37574 on Y13 behind showing 'not in service' but with passengers on board. Cheryl was having a camping weekend at Foulsham, but had to pop into Dereham for more beer vouchers and reported 37564 on K2 roughly on time just before 3pm.
An old friend of the blog, Jamie Vendy was back in touch today, he says "Paid a visit down to the coast yesterday via East Coast from Doncaster and East Midland Trains from Peterborough.
The X1's coming into Norwich from Peterborough were very full and virtually unloading all their passengers at Norwich then refilling with a full compliment of passengers for Yarmouth. Obviously 78 passengers disembarking and then boarding takes a considerable time and being 10 late on arrival, the delay had extended to 15 minutes upon departure. This was 37569 by the way on the 11.50 departure (K4). Despite the traffic we did make up some time by the time we arrived at Yarmouth. Here I saw 37156 in its freshened up Excel livery and I think the other B7s ought to get this treatment too. Next I took the 14.00 to Lowestoft with Des Speed driving - this service was already 30 minutes late but the journey was very pleasant and smooth. In my opinion, the B7s give a smoother, more comfortable ride that the B9s and I also think they are a better looking design". Well thanks Jamie for that, good to hear from you again and here are a couple of those pictures :
37156 on K3 12.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough today. [Jamie Vendy]
You see good X1 drivers even smile when they are running late ! 37157 on Y7 14.55 Lowestoft - Peterborough soon after departure today [J Vendy]
Des says "Yes 30 late from Yarmouth on the 14.00 departure from Yarmouth to Lowestoft (Y7), but cut to 24 late arriving at our destination. I then left 12 late on the 14.55 to Lynn (above) and with traffic and loadings was disappointed to be still 6 late arriving.".